Sometimes, in varsity sports, the crystal ball is right.
Other times, a team not expected to rise to the top ends up the surprise victor.
But always, without fail, there are performances and moments to cherish—and something for each squad to celebrate.
And so it goes for the 2015 Trinity League varsity football season.
Going into the season, a consensus poll of Trinity League coaches yielded the following predictions:
1) St. John Bosco
2) Mater Dei
3) Santa Margarita
4) Orange Lutheran
And in league competition, here’s how the final standings shook out:
1) St. John Bosco (5-0), overall 16-0
2) Mater Dei (3-2), overall 11-3
3) Orange Lutheran (2-3), overall 7-4
4) JSerra (2-3), overall 7-3
5) Servite (2-3), overall 6-6
6) Santa Margarita (1-4) overall 4-6
In semi-final match-ups Nov. 27, the day after Thanksgiving, Mater Dei lost to Centennial, 42-36, while St. John Bosco crushed Bishop Amat, 63-10. St. John Bosco will take on Centennial in the championship game on Saturday, Dec. 5 at Angel Stadium.
The Trinity League has produced three of the last five Pac-5 division champions.
As far as final league standings go, this year’s season probably stung the most for Santa Margarita Catholic High School, whose Eagles were predicted to finish higher at the outset of the season.
“We did not live up to our expectations,” sports information representative Sean Zeitler says.
“Nobody was happy with the outcome of our season,” Zeitler added, “but there was a lot of positive to work with.”
Zeitler says there’s a lot of talent coming back next year.
“The team is going to go back to the drawing board, build off what they did well and improve on what they did not do well,” Zeitler says.
Looking ahead to the talent that will be on the roster for the 2016 campaign, Zeitler noted junior quarterback Richard Wagner, who this season led the team to a victory over JSerra. In that Oct. 16 contest, the Eagles beat the Lions 28-21, with Wagner completing 12 of 21 passes for 181 yards and three touchdowns, and also logging seven rushes for 53 yards.
On the season, Wagner completed 31 of 53 passes (59 percent) with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Junior receiver Grant Calcaterra led the receiving corps with 926 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging 92.6 yards per game. Junior tailback Trey Green led the team with 649 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. Defensively, junior cornerback Darian Fernandez hauled in three interceptions.
Mater Dei Head Coach Bruce Rollinson says with the exception of powerhouse St. John Bosco, the standings for the rest of the Trinity League were up in the air most of the season.
“The teams battled each week, beating each other on any given Friday night,” Rollinson says.
He says given the youth of his Monarchs team, he was “very pleased” with the 2015 campaign.
As for specific players, Rollinson singled out running back Brandon LaMarche, who gained more than 1,300 yards in the season. He also says linebacker Curtis Robinson “dominated week in and week out.”
Linebacker Jed Smith “was a force,” Rollinson added, racking up at least 10 tackles in eight games. And looking at the team’s underclassmen, freshman quarterback J.T. Daniels was a standout, Rollinson says, as well as offensive lineman Tommy Brown, who, at 6 feet 8 inches and 318 pounds, dominated as a sophomore during his first season as a starter.
For Servite Head Coach Scott Meyer, the biggest surprise of the season was that only three Trinity League schools (St. John Bosco, Mater Dei and Orange Lutheran) made it to the playoffs.
“It was thought that the Trinity League would get at least four teams in the playoffs, and had a chance to get as many as five of the six teams in the Pac 5 playoffs,” Meyer says.
Meyer says it was no surprise that St. John Bosco finished on top, as predicted, and says Bosco all-purpose back Sean McGrew probably stood out the most of any player in the league this season.
Some of the up-and-coming talent from Servite for next year, Meyer says, includes Terrell Bynum, Keith Taylor, John Bueras, Ezra Tafua, Jarrett Wesner, Delon Hurt, Julius Irvin, Christian Labow, Tyler Lytle and Luke LaCilento.
Chuck Petersen, Head Coach at Orange Lutheran, noted that the Trinity League was “extremely balanced” from teams No. 2 through No. 6, after No. 1 Bosco.
“A coin flip had to be conducted to determine who finished No. 3, 4 and 5,” Petersen says.
In addition to McGrew, Petersen says Bosco quarterback Quentin Davis was a league standout.
But the talent, he says, runs far and deep.
“There are many great players in the league,” Petersen says.